A smartphone shows the first twitter message of Pope Benedict XVI, in Rome on December 12, 2012. Italian Tommasso Debenedetti has killed many world luminaries, including the Pope, in fake tweets aimed at exposing shoddy journalism, earning him global notoriety.
Fidel Castro, Mikhail Gorbachev and Pope Benedict XVI—Italian Tommasso Debenedetti has killed them all in fake tweets aimed at exposing shoddy journalism that have earned him global notoriety.
The latest victim of Debenedetti’s unusual hobby is British author JK Rowling, whose death in an accident he announced from a fake Twitter account purporting to belong to fellow writer John Le Carre.
“Death works well on Twitter,” Debenedetti, who is in his 40s and says he teaches literature at a school in Rome, told AFP in a phone interview. Debenedetti said that when he saw his Le Carre account had 2,500 followers including journalists from major British, German and US media, “I decided to make John Le Carre say JK Rowling had died”. Debenedetti said the tweet was then retweeted hundreds of times and a Chilean television station even gave the false news as fact.
Exciting possibilities suggest themeslves. But do stories other than deaths get retweeted? To find out, I am going to start a Twitter account under the name “Pat Buchanan” just to announce that Rod Dreher has left his wife and run off to Rio de Janeiro with Edwin Edwards, where the happy couple will be stars of a reality TV show (to be dubbed into Portuguese). Watch this space to see what happens.